For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
During Ramadan, the meal you eat at the end of the day is called Iftar. And, it is a time of celebration and charity. Throughout the city there are areas where tables are set up for anyone to come at sundown, sit and eat.
I was reminded of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats yesterday when I went to get some vegetables from my favorite fruit stand (Gana Al Maadi Fruits on Road 9). As I walked down the street, every restaurant and grocery store I passed was either shut down or slowed as the staff had a meal together outside.
Then I approached the vegetable stand and the lights were off which made me think that they were having Iftar. I looked for a place to sit and wait for them to be done but they saw me in front of the store.
Come, sit! They called to me from the back of the store, invited me to eat with them from the meal prepared by the owner’s mother. Delicious rice, mint eggplant, baked potatoes, and roast beef with peas. It was absolutely tasty and I was humbled to be invited in to their celebration.
It made me think of the words of Jesus: I was a stranger and you invited me in. Here I am a stranger in Egypt, a practitioner of another faith, but they invited me in, and I have seen that attitude many times on the streets of Cairo this Ramadan.
Thanks to our many hosts for being so hospitable to this stranger.